Variation in Arsenic Speciation and Concentration in Paddy Rice Related to Dietary Exposure

Paul Williams, Andrea Raab, Adam Huw Price, S. A. Hossain, Jorg Feldmann, Andrew Alexander Meharg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

693 Citations (Scopus)


Ingestion of drinking water is not the only elevated source of arsenic to the diet in the Bengal Delta. Even at background levels, the arsenic in rice contributes considerably to arsenic ingestion in subsistence rice diets. We set out to survey As speciation in different rice varieties from different parts of the globe to understand the contribution of rice to arsenic exposure. Pot experiments were utilized to ascertain whether growing rice on As contaminated soil affected speciation and whether genetic variation accounted for uptake and speciation. USA long grain rice had the highest mean arsenic level in the grain at 0.26 mu g As g(-1) (n = 7), and the highest grain arsenic value of the survey at 0.40,mu g As g-1. The mean arsenic level of Bangladeshi rice was 0.13 mu g As g(-1) (n = 15). The main As species detected in the rice extract were Aslll, DMA(v), and As-v. In European, Bangladeshi, and Indian rice 64 +/- 1 % (n = 7), 80 +/- 3 % (n = 11), and 81 +/- 4% (n = 15), respectively, of the recovered arsenic was found to be inorganic. In contrast, DMAv was the predominant species in rice from the USA, with only 42 +/- 5% (n = 12) of the arsenic being inorganic. Pot experiments show that the proportions of DMAv in the grain are significantly dependent on rice cultivar (p = 0.026) and that plant nutrient status is effected by arsenic exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5531-5540
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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